He held the knife close to his chest —
What should I do with it, Kid?
You could slice me some cheese
and put it on some bread, maybe?
It’s late and I want dinner.
Come on Dad, Can’t you swing for food?
It isn’t that I don’t appreciate you
Taking me out to the ball game —
But I am hungry,
And telling me to ask my
Only fuels my starvation —
And how I have always held
Guilt when I did nothing wrong
Changing my mind — I was scared to go through
The whole haunted house —
Out through the in door.
Like because you had paid that dollar,
I just threw it out the window.
When paying for college for me
Someday, a decade after I graduate,
you will hold over my head —
The burden of my education
On your life
Or how you will think it is cool
When you visit me and I have to
Pick up my b.c. pills
Run an errand with me
Live life like my Dad.
You’re so cool —
You’ll ask the pharmacist if she thinks
We are on a date.
He held the knife up to his Adam’s apple-
What should I do with it now?
Shave the stubble, Dad. You look a little homeless.
Or is that the look your girlfriend likes?
It reminds her of when you met —
She dealt you another queen
You’ll tell me how in the cards it was meant to be
But only through vagueries
But I will know she likes that song “Fast Car”
Don’t tell me too much.
You are going to be North of the River
For a few days,
And don’t worry
I will pay no attention to that tray
Under the coffee table
When I lie on the floor
To do my Wednesday night homework
And I will soon forget that razorblade —
that will belong to your roommate
Who probably stole your jar of quarters
Yes — it will be an inside job.
Nice friends, Dad
I’m only a preteen.
And you’ll never know how
At Red Rocks Amphitheater
I will remember this detail
When Tracy Chapman lights up my heart
All acoustic with her greatest hit.
You will miss the moments
I feel most alive.
He held the knife between his teeth and barely hissed,
Why don’t you cut out that antagonistic tongue,
if you need extra drama tonight.
When my son is born,
You will lament you were not invited —
As if a dad needs to be invited to his
Daughter’s most momentous occasion —
No one will receive a formal invitation to his birth
It just happens — those who are able to support me
Will be there.
Yes, I will know you still love me.
But it won’t be about you.
You will only meet my child once —
When in infancy,
You will hold him up, incredulous
That a baby could be so content —
Cry a little bit, you’ll tell him
Why, so you can pretend to soothe him?
He held the knife up in the air.
What do you see now, Kid?
I see Mama’s coming for your keys.
I see that I will need to sit in offices
And relive this drama in a million ways
I will learn eventually to accept
What happened to you
And I lost you then
I’ll drive really fast with the lights out,
or try to get out of the car while it’s moving
He said —
The knife held to his wrist.
Yes, just like you did when we were
You will try to get out while
I’m driving some day,
You’ll fumble with the auto-lock handle,
Fury that makes your daughter unknown
Animosity glued to your foggy memory
I may try that trick some day
Or maybe get caught driving
The wrong way
Headlights all wrong
Steering wheel melting
I will meet a kid in high school
Who will make sure I am aware that
I cannot live without him
Who will someday remind me
Of this night and will bruise my
Bones when I try to escape
But you will never know him.
He held the knife out to my sister.
What now? I don’t know what to do.
Run upstairs, I screamed at her.
Can you understand how I will spend
My life chasing her friendship
Healing from this night
Filling up an unfillable gap?
I dare you to, I said at last.
I dare you to scar me worse.
For your edge isn’t really that steep,
But I will forever forget to sleep.
© Samantha Lazar 2019
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